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Bussard collector

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AR Enterprise Bussard collector

USS Enterprise Bussard collector

Sovereign bussard collector

Sovereign-class ramscoop

Bussard collector, 2367

Galaxy-class Bussard collector

The Bussard collector, also known as a Bussard ramscoop or ramscoop, was a device usually attached to the forward end of a warp nacelle. The Tosk variation of the Bussard collector was known as the arva node. (DS9: "Captive Pursuit")

All Federation starships were equipped with Bussard collectors, which were positioned in the best line of sight to collect interstellar particles. Collection worked best in regions where particle density was high, such as in solar systems or nebulae.

The Bussard collector normally collected hydrogen, especially deuterium, for fuel replenishment, but could be reconfigured to collect various gases like sirillium and plasma particles.

A Bussard collector could also be reconfigured to expel gases or plasma. (TNG: "Samaritan Snare") Bussard collectors were not capable of producing nadion emissions. (VOY: "The Haunting of Deck Twelve")

Modification and exceptional uses

Crimson force field

Bussard collectors expelling gases

In 2365, the USS Enterprise-D's collectors were used to create a harmless pyrotechnic display against the Pakleds to recover Lieutenant Geordi La Forge by igniting released hydrogen. This event came to be known as a crimson force field. (TNG: "Samaritan Snare")

While trapped in a Tyken's Rift in 2367, the Enterprise-D released large quantities of hydrogen from its Bussard collectors to help some unknown aliens create a violent explosion and release themselves. (TNG: "Night Terrors")

In 2373, USS Voyager's collectors were used to gather the sirillium from a class 17 nebula. It was described that they would "cut through that nebula like ice cream scoops." (VOY: "Flashback") They were modified to gather plasma particles from an astral eddy. (VOY: "Real Life")

In 2374, Seven of Nine determined that the collectors of an Intrepid-class starship were less than optimal. She performed a series of modifications that enhanced them by twenty-three percent. (VOY: "Unforgettable")

In 2375, Commander William T. Riker used the USS Enterprise-E's collectors to gather, and then vent, metreon gas against attacking Son'a vessels, a maneuver which Commander La Forge nicknamed the Riker Maneuver. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

In 2376, USS Voyager's collectors were modified to gather deuterium from a J class nebula. (VOY: "Unforgettable", "The Haunting of Deck Twelve")

According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, the main function of a Starfleet Bussard collector is to collect interstellar hydrogen atoms for fuel replenishment. The device consists of a set of coils which generate a magnetic field. Collected gases are compressed and stored in holding tanks.
The alternate reality USS Enterprise is described as having Bussard collectors in Star Trek - The Art of the Film. Concept art indicates the collectors' revolving blades creating an energy field that collects particles, and a set of inner support rings reminiscent of the fresnel lens.
The basic principles behind the Bussard collector came from Robert W. Bussard's design of the Bussard ramjet, a propulsion system meant for interstellar spaceflight. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)

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